Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tweet this! #Top50 includes FSU, UGA, Tech and ... Kiffin?


These ratings differ from our norm. For one thing, this is a Top 50, not a Top 25. For another, we’ve done these Twitter-style, which means: No more than 140 characters per team. Which means: For the sake of character count, we’ve flouted #NewspaperStyle a time or two. But #BrevityIsTheSoulOfWit, as I believe @AmosAlonzoStagg once said. And away we go:

1. Florida State

If you can win @theACC Atlantic, recent history proves you can win @CFBplayoff . Here’s next division/national champ — @FSU_Football .

2. Alabama

Sans @Lane_Kiffin , Tide simplifies offense, meaning more #PowerRunning. But will @Tuaamann_ create #QBcontroversy for @AlabamaFTBL ?

3. Ohio State

Crushing loss to @ClemsonFB was unlike @OSUCoachMeyer . @OhioStateFB will win nothing of consequence if @JT_theQB4th can’t complete a pass.

4. USC

@USC_Athletics won nine straight to close last season. Hype for Sam Darnold, who doesn’t have @Twitter account, is off the charts.

5. Washington

@pac12 title game will match UW_Football vs. @USC_Athletics . They don’t meet in regular season, which is why both are ranked this high.

6. Oklahoma

@OU_CoachStoops coaches @OU_Football no more. Job belongs to @LincolnRiley , who’s 33, but who still has QB @baker_mayfield6 .

7. Penn State

@PennStateFBall shook @bigten by stunning @OhioStateFB and reaching @rosebowlgame . Is there a follow-through for @coachjfranklin ?

8. Clemson

@deshaunwatson was best player in @ClemsonFB annals. No way he’s not missed. But Dabo (#NoTwitter) Swinney has built his program to last.

9. Oklahoma State

@CoachGundy is 50, meaning he’s not just a #MAN but a middle-aged one. There’s opportunity here for @CowboyFB to win @Big12Conference .

10. Florida

@GatorsFB has won @SEC East twice in a row but still wasn’t picked as division favorite at #SECMD17. #NoRespect for @CoachMcElwain !

11. Wisconsin

Talk about your #BunnySchedule. @BadgerFootball doesn’t play @OhioStateFB or @PennStateFBall , gets @UMichFootball at home.

12. Auburn

Is @Jarrett_Stidham the next @CameronNewton ? No, but the @BUFootball transfer could lift @AuburnFootball and save @CoachGusMalzahn’s job.

13. Louisville

Lest we forget, @Lj_era8 won @HeismanTrophy . He’s back. So’s @CoachPetrinoUL . Did we mention that @theACC Atlantic is wicked?

14. Stanford

Minus @run_cmc , @StanfordFball will have need alternative facts ways to #MoveTheBall. But @KellerChryst and @Blovee_20 seem capable.

15. Michigan

@CoachJim4UM is undefeated on @Twitter , but he hasn’t won @bigten and won’t this time. Which isn’t to say @UMichFootball won’t be good.

16. Georgia

Another strong #SigningDay for @FootballUGA and @KirbySmartUGA . But does @JimChaneyUGA know what to do with @skinnyqb10 ?

17. Miami

Year 2 for @MarkRicht and his @CanesFootball program will commence without @Kaaya323 . But @MarkRicht did OK in Year 2 with @FootballUGA.

18. LSU

There are those who believe @LSUfootball can win @SEC West. We @Twitter folks call that #FAKENEWS @Coach_EdOrgeron is not a head coach.

19. Texas

@CoachTomHerman gets his #BigStage, there being not much bigger than @TexasFootball . @UHCougarFB shares a state, but it’s a #DifferentWorld

20. South Florida

@CoachStrong_USF works here, having been dumped by @TexasFootball. What you mightn’t know is that @USFFootball is coming off an 11-2 season.

21. Kansas State

@CoachBillSnyder is 77 and recovering from throat cancer. He and @KStateFootball have outside shot at winning in-flux @Big12Conference .

22. West Virginia

As does @WVUfootball . @willgrier_ will be the QB, having transferred from @GatorsFB . Maybe he’ll be better under @Holgorsendana

23. Western Kentucky

@WKUFootball has real chance to go unbeaten and make #NewYearsSix run. #Power5 opponents are @IlliniFootball and @VandyFootball.

24. Boise State

As long as @MarkBradleyAJC is doing these rankings, @BroncoSportsFB makes the #Top25. Last year was a down year — at 10-3. #Isaynomore.

25. Washington State

Speaking of @BroncoSportsFB , it plays @wsucougfb in Pullman on Sept. 9. #BigGame. Be advised that @Coach_Leach will #SwingHisSword.

26. Toledo

Could be this year’s @WMU_Football , which went unbeaten in regular season and left @ToledoFB in 2nd place in @MACSports West.

27. Utah

@Utah_Football lost 4 games by a total of 19 points last. This year brings a rough schedule, with road dates @USC_Athletics and UW_Football .

28. Georgia Tech

@GeorgiaTechFB drops seven spots in these rankings w/o @MillsDedrick . @GTPaulJohnson still gets chance to stick it to @SEC on #LaborDay

29. Navy

@NavyFB had designs on #NewYearsSix bowl. That ended with loss in @American_FB title tilt. This year could be better. #AnchorsAweigh

30. Appalachian State

Before @FootballUGA heads to @NDFootball , there’s @AppState_FB , which went 10-3 and nearly beat @Vol_Football last year. #ReallyScaryOpener

31. BYU

Really want to put @BYUFootball higher. Went 9-4 with losses by a total of 8 points. Schedule, alas, includes 4 games vs. #Power5 teams.

32. TCU

Not long ago, @TCUFootbal l seemed the class of @Big12Conference . It went 6-7 last year. @TCUCoachP is too clever to let that continue.

33. Virginia Tech

It was a heady first season for @CoachFuente with @HokiesFB . @theACC Coastal title will be tough to repeat without QB @rodfor6_ , though.

34. North Carolina State

What’s prize for finishing fourth in @theACC Atlantic? A bid to @belkbowl ? Were @PackFootball based in Coastal, it might finish first.

35. Notre Dame

@NDFootbal l lost eight games last season. Apparently none of it was the fault of @CoachBrianKelly , who might soon be ex- @CoachBrianKelly .

36. Iowa

@HawkeyeFootball schedule has become #nationaljoke. With @OhioStateFB aboard, it’s slightly tougher. Could finish 2nd in @bigten West.

37. Northwestern

So could @NUFBFamily , which doesn’t face @OhioStateFB . @coachfitz51 has led program to 37-26 record over past five seasons. #PurplePower

38. Houston

Minus @CoachTomHerman , @UHCougarFB could #breakbad. But @CoachApplewhite seems an OK hire, and @KyleAllen_10 , ex- @AggieFootball , is the QB.

39. Texas A&M

Still seeking next @JManziel2 . Still wondering if @CoachSumlin is the guy. Since 2012, @AggieFootball 12-15 in @SEC play. #betterdobetter

40. San Diego State

@Aztec_Football is coming off consecutive 11-3 seasons. Schedule’s tougher, with September games against @FootballASU and @StanfordFball

41. Tennessee

That the breakthrough hasn’t happened for @UTCoachJones indicates it probably won’t. No matter, though. @Vol_Football = #ChampionsOfLife

42. Oregon

@oregonfootball played for first @CFBplayoff title. Three years later, it has a new man in @CoachTaggart , who did well @USFFootball .

43. UCLA

As @AtlantaFalcons know, first days of @UCLAJimMora are fine. Record over 1st 3 years @UCLAFootball : 29-11. Record over past 2: 12-13.

44. Arkansas

@BretBielema’s overall record @RazorbackFB : 25-26. His @SEC record: 10-22. It just hasn’t worked. It better work this year. #HotSeatAlert

45. Louisiana Tech

Under @CoachHoltz , son of @ESPNDrLou , @LATechFB nearly beat @RazorbackFB last. It gets a shot @HailStateFB and @GamecockFB this time.

46. Kentucky

If it’s going to happen for @UKCoachStoops , this is the time. @UKFootball went 7-6 last year. Of its 4 toughest games this season, 3 are @KrogerField .

47. Nebraska

@HuskerFBNation lost 4 of final 6 to finish 9-4 for 4th time in the 6 years since joining @bigten . #slouchingtowardirrelevance

48. Colorado

@CoachMikeMac , once a DB @GeorgiaTechFB , won 10 games his first three seasons @RunRalpieRun . He won 10 last season. #wasitafluke

49. North Dakota State

Yes, @NDSUfootball is an FCS program. It’s also THE FCS program. Its title game loss to @JMUFootball snapped run of five national crowns.

50. Florida Atlantic

#WhyTheHeckNot. @Lane_Kiffin now coaches @FAU_Football . He’ll either win big and make us all mad or get fired on the tarmac at FLL.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.